Steven Howe Breakthroughs for Antimatter Production and Storage

Dr. Steven Howe identified an antimatter niche for the acceleration of small unmanned interstellar probes. Small amounts of antimatter can be used to initiate fission events whose daughters provided thrust.

* use a dedicated customer $670 million accelerator to produce 10 grams of antimatter per year
* form the antiprotons into antihydrogen and coat it with antilithium to stabilize it and make storage last for decades

Space enthusiasts who want to see progress for world-changing technology that would enable moving in space at 5-10% of the speed of light should consider supporting Steve Howe and HBar Technologies. Progress would be ten times faster with just $5000 per month of total support.

Dr. Howe has conceptual solutions and a roadmap for what appear to be a reasonable path to the development of antimatter production, antimatter storage and an eventual antimatter catalyzed fission propulsion system.

One gram of matter-antimatter reaction is about 21.5 kilotons of TNT which is about the same as the Nagasaki atomic bomb. (0.5 grams of antimatter with 0.5 grams of matter). 20 grams of antimatter and 20 grams of matter is about 1 megaton.

The Howe concept has been improved by focusing all fission daughters into a coherent exhaust stream, thereby reducing the amount of antimatter needed and enabling spacecraft velocities as high as 0.1c.

Howe has a plan for producing antimatter at a rate of 10 grams /year with accompanying cost estimate has been developed. Given that the maximum exhaust velocity of fission daughters is only 0.046c, a spacecraft velocity of 0.1c requires 33g of antimatter for every kilogram of spacecraft dry mass. If the spacecraft velocity were reduced to 0.05c the amount of needed antimatter drops to 8g.

The first step was to critically evaluate antimatter-based propulsion in light of the rocket equation, which pointed to the induction of fission as the most efficient use of antimatter.

The second step was to identify a particle accelerator architecture coupled with a focusing system that mixed antimatter with depleted uranium while simultaneously allowing both fission daughters to escape into the focused exhaust stream.

The third step was to generate an unmanned scientific Proxima Centauri mission profile that decelerates and orbits Proxima b, returning data for decades.

The fourth step was to generate a plan to synthesis antimatter at the rate needed to enable such a mission.

The propulsion concept is based on experimentally validated accelerator and particle physics experience: TRL 3. Enhanced antimatter production consistent with a Proxima Centauri mission is a large extrapolation of experimental work performed at several laboratories: TRL 4.

The critical path is demonstrating enhanced antimatter production rates. An experimental program has been developed.

Generate a technical design report for the first enhanced antimatter production experiment validating technology and production costs.

Interstellar antimatter-based propulsion at 0.1c and kilogram-scale is feasible and experimentally validated. Demonstration of economic feasibility is required.

42 thoughts on “Steven Howe Breakthroughs for Antimatter Production and Storage”

  1. Just extrapolating from current technology and focus. We are spending a lot of money on fusion research because we need a clean unlimited source of power. So I figure in twenty years we will figure that out. And then figuring out the cost of developing fusion rocket engines and building some I think $10-20 billion would be enough. Developing and building an anti-matter factory that’s in the $trillion range. It would make a nice bomb so maybe the military might spend the money. Just imagine something the size of a baseball that could take out a major city.

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  2. It’s right there in the article:

    One gram of matter-antimatter reaction is about 21.5 kilotons of TNT 

    Clearly not your exaggerated H bomb.

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  3. For some reason I had misread and imagined them trying to do an anti-lithium hydroxide as a storage media for antihydrogen , similar to terrestrial hydrogen storage techniques using lithium hydroxide…

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  4. Ummm…yeah…I ’m not sure it’s a good idea to store 10 grams of an extremely unstable anti-matter per year… when each gram is equivalent to an H bomb … and ohh by the way all you need to do is let it annihilate itself with ordinary matter

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  5. Steven Howe from yes and astrophysics Brian may talk about anti matter drive….

    Singing: Starship trooper……go sailing on by….catch my soul….

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  6. ‘But there are millions that wanna be civilians.’ That may not be possible, but cardinal training is available for free. kjydfsleiuyu

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  7. The metallurgy in the fuel rods IS pretty involved I hear.
    But that’s not the point.
    Let’s tweak the comment a bit.

    Do you know what also seems very involved? Explaining to someone from the 1920s how we produce our current integrated circuits .

    A very involved process that involves $billions of dedicated machinery is totally on the cards if the return is high enough.

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  8. I’m assuming they chose lithium to store antimatter just so they could make dilithium jokes for the rest of their lives.

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  9. The third step was to generate an unmanned scientific Proxima Centauri mission profile that decelerates and orbits Proxima b, returning data for decades.

    That’s where they lost me. The third step was to demonstrate actual anti-lithium production, at least enough to solidify into metallic particles even if they were microscopic in size.
    That is the limiting step here. Actual coating anti-hydrogen with anti-lithium to produce a storable media.
    Once you’ve got that, the applications will come raining down out of the grant proposals. You don’t need to waste your time and valuable powerpoint ones-and-zeros making up space missions.

    Get the antimatter stored: end of job. The rest will be done automatically.

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  10. The inertial fusion boys are also, legitimately, doing hyper-dense stuff.
    But it takes multiple megajoules concentrated down to cubic micrometres to create it, and it only stays that way for femtoseconds.

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  11. Actually… this isn’t really one of those ham and eggs stories.
    This is 80% concentrating on “how to get the ingredients” and only 20% on “then we could make breakfast”

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  12. Would it?

    I mean we are speculating about unproven tech here. One could be easier, or the other. I don’t see we currently have enough data to say.

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  13. Yes, but I’ve learned that as soon as somebody says “hyper-dense”, and you don’t see “core of gas giant” anywhere, you should probably tune out. His hyper-dense hydrogen is just this week’s hydrinos.

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  14. Aside from the isotope separation, it’s just metallurgy, so, no.

    Look, aside from the horrific difficulty of generating the anti-protons in the first place, most of the steps in making anti-lithium are HARD. You notice that nobody is experimenting with doing inverse beta decay to manufacture deuterium? Or building fusion reactors that would use Helium 4 as fuel? And beryllium 7 has a half life of 53 days, you have to keep a large inventory of anti-beryllium on hand to get the anti-lithium.

    If they’d actually known about nuclear chain reactions back in the 20’s, they absolutely could have built a nuclear reactor. It doesn’t require anything you couldn’t do with 1920’s technology to build a heavy water reactor.

    I’m not saying that the process proposed is impossible, it clearly is permitted by the laws of physics. But it’s really, really hard. As in, hard even if you had a decent supply of anti-protons to feed into the system. Even given free anti-protons, anti-lithium is going to be horrifically expensive.

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  15. Because producing it takes enormously more energy than it supplies when it annihilates. So if it’s even remotely possible, you’re better off just using that energy directly, rather than throwing away 99.999% of it converting a tiny portion to antimatter.

    That’s why all the proposals you’re seeing to produce it in the ship are using it catalytically, to get energy from some OTHER nuclear reaction. And even to make that work they have to assume huge gain factors.

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  16. Agree. Cost efficiency still applies, and antimatter and even laser sail require stupendous amounts of infrastructure and energy.

    FFRE with perhaps a 2nd stage Wind/Q drive (by Jeff Greason) might be able to squeeze out an additional 4x FFRE performance for max .4% C; now were talking!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86z42y7DEAk

    Past that Laser guided particle beams make much more sense (aka NIACs PROCSIMA study) once we have some infratructure going. A FFRE/Q-Drive combo would make for near term achievable road map to some high speed probes.

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  17. Yes it looks involved. Do you know what also seems very involved? Explaining to someone from the 1920s how we produce our current nuclear fuel rods.

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  18. We don’t quite know how large stashes of antimatter explode. A big Tsar-bomba explosion? A fizzle? A hybrid that scatters relativistic flakes of antimatter like little MIRV warheads for tens of kilometers around the initial explosion? How much EMP?

    Questions that we must answer. I propose that we test this on the far side of the moon.

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  19. Meh, a whole kilogram of the stuff is only 42 megatons of explosive power. The Tzar bomba was far bigger than that, but still not a good idea to store in U-Store-It facility in downtown LA

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  20. That’s exactly what Leif Holmlid’s team say they found how to do, with a supposed method for making hyper-dense hydrogen and ignite it with a laser.

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  21. Unless we find some way to “flip” matter into antimatter, instead of having to generate energy and laboriously turn some of it into antimatter, you’re not getting world destroying bombs that way.

    The real threat here isn’t world destroying bombs, it’s Nagasaki/Hiroshima scale bombs that fit in your pocket and don’t emit radiation; Antimatter bombs would work really well for smuggling weapons of mass destruction across borders for decapitating strikes.

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  22. That’s fair enough; If you can manufacture large enough quantities of antimatter, the nucliosythesis is likely to be easy enough, if only by contrast to the difficulty of pulling off the original production of the anti-hydrogen.

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  23. one gram of matter-antimatter reaction is 21.5 kilotons of TNT – about the Nagasaki atomic bomb. so that 0.5 grams of antimatter with 0.5 grams of matter. 20 grams of antimatter and 20 grams of matter is about 1 megaton. Hiroshima was 16 kilotons, Nagasaki was 21 kilotons

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  24. I added: Dr. Howe has conceptual solutions and a roadmap for what appear to be a reasonable path to the development of antimatter production, antimatter storage and an eventual antimatter catalyzed fission propulsion system. so not solved but what appear to be reasonable conceptual solutions and development steps and a reasonable pathway for development.

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  25. I first read that as “dilithium”, but considering the difficulties to make the stuff, it’s pretty much the same thing: unobtainium.

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  26. I’m a big fan of fission fragment rockets. Same technology can provide extremely high efficiency nuclear reactors, just doing direct conversion on the exhaust instead of throwing it out the back.

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  27. “and coat it with antilithium”

    There’s your unobtainium right there. The synthesis path for anti-lithium starts with anti-protons, and then proceeds through multiple steps. First you have to cook up some anti-neutrons, (Inverse beta decay) and make your anti-protons into anti-deuterium. Then fuse that into anti-helium. Then fuse THAT into anti-berylium. And then that decays into anti-lithium.

    Don’t get me wrong, every step of that has been demonstrated in the lab for normal matter, and so should work for antimatter. But that’s a lot of steps, so saying long term storage has been “solved” is a bit of a stretch.

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  28. I’m all in favor of producing tens of grams of antimatter per year but lets do so at the bottom of a lunar crater, on the far side of the moon. I don’t trust our storage that much and to paraphrase a good meme:

    “One does not simply contain tens of grams of antimatter”

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